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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Creamy Tarragon Chicken - a Gutsy Cooks Selection

I'm getting very far behind in both my French Fridays and Gutsy Cooks posts, and I'm going to be gone for a few weeks, so I'll just have to resign myself to being in permanent catch-up mode. But when I saw that Monica had added a chicken tarragon dish, I couldn't resist. I love creme fraiche, and I love fresh tarragon. The chicken is just a vehicle for the sauce.

Jim is not a big fan of skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts. He likes flattened cutlets--less chance of biting into bone or tendon. But I followed the recipe, got two large breasts from Whole Foods, and cut them in half.

I browned the shallots in the butter-oil mixture, even though the recipe just has them cooking in broth. Which sounds better, poached shallots or browned shallots? I thought so too.

After the chicken is browned, it simmers in a mixture of white wine and chicken broth for about 25 minutes. Then the chicken is plated, the sauce is reduced--and it's time to add creme fraiche and lots of chopped tarragon. If you don't like tarragon, this probably doesn't sound good.

Unlike sour cream, creme fraiche doesn't curdle when you use it in a sauce. It also tastes even better than either sour cream or whipping cream, so you've gotta love it. It's kind of expensive, which you don't gotta love.

And then the sauce is poured over the chicken, and dinner is served. You can make a salad, vegetable, potatoes, rice, salad--whatever strikes your fancy--during the 25 minutes the chicken is simmering in its sauce. I made steamed carrots and orzo--plenty of sauce to flavor the orzo as well as the chicken.

I could eat a cup of this sauce at a time. But I didn't. There are leftovers for my Saturday lunch, which makes me happy. You can get the recipe right here.


Jim: "I'll give it a 7. I liked the sauce, but I thought the chicken was just okay. It didn't really pick up the flavors of the sauce, and it was too thick." (I knew he wouldn't like those fat chicken breasts with the bone still in).
Marie: "I can't believe you're just giving it a 7. It's an easy 9, maybe 9 and 1/2. The sauce is delicious!"


  1. Don't worry Marie, I'm playing catch up as well! But, I'm going to do this one for dinner this coming week, I cannot resist.. between you and Tammy (who made it as well) you have me convince! Oh, and you can make it again but use chicken cutlas (for Jim!)

  2. Marie...we're in agreement it's all about the sauce. I love your Taste-O-Meter ratings.

  3. Monica,
    It's definitely worth making--and making again!

    The Taste-O-Meter really makes us think about the food (and causes occasional tiffs).